July is starting to heat up, literally and figuratively as temperatures return to a more seasonable level after what was a somewhat cool June and for hockey fans it means prospect camp is in full-swing. Players are being put through their paces with off-ice conditioning and on-ice drills. As important as practice is, playing the game is where a player demonstrates their relative value to an organization. At practice that amplifies the importance of the scrimmages. For the camp invitees, who make up 54% of this year’s camp roster the chance to make a good impression from an NHL team has added a bit more unpredictability to the event.
For locals its a chance to see the prospects in action and get an idea of where the future of the franchise is. Do the prospects look like they’re close to being NHL ready? Are there invitees who the team should take a long look at and perhaps sign so they don’t become another Tyler Johnson, J.T. Brown, or Matt Read where we are asking ourselves how they got away? So how did the first prospect scrimmage go?
In the first half the play was dominated by Team Green who seemed to have more collective speed and were able to exit their zone more efficiently than Team White. Team Green jumped out to an early lead on goals from Leon Bristedt and Sam Anas. Team White had a tougher time creating scoring chances and when they did get shots on goal, Adam Vay looked sharp making some great saves on a few bang-bang plays as well as stopping a penalty shot. Vay would give up one goal on a fine shot by Carson Soucy off the rush but overall was pretty good. In the 2nd half Team White really cranked up the pressure and made the scrimmage more competitive as Mason Shaw and Justin Kloos. Luke Kunin would seal the deal for Team Green with a late goal as he rifled a shot by Jake Kielly to give his squad a 5-3 victory.
One major disappointment was the fact Dmitry Sokolov didn’t play due to an elbow injury according to Minneapolis Star Tribune‘s Wild beat writer Michael Russo. Sokolov didn’t participate in last year’s scrimmages and after a 48-goal campaign with the Sudbury Wolves this season fans were hoping to see him show off his sniping ability. So here are my thoughts on individual players.
Jack Walker (Green)- an invitee from Edina (drafted but not signed by the Leafs) has outstanding wheels, very noticeable and active on virtually every shift. He has a great first few strides and gains separation consistently and demonstrated some good offensive instincts.
Luke Kunin (Green) – Almost looked bored out there, had a goal on a pretty snipe at the end of the scrimmage. Clearly in a class above everyone else.
Sam Anas (Green) – Super small, but he has outstanding hands. Two goals, and drew a penalty too although he better keep his head up skating through the neutral zone.
Jordan Greenway (White)- As one would expect, a man among boys out there. He’s just physically bigger and stronger than anyone else out there and its too bad he didn’t have better players to work with.
Mason Shaw (White)- Quiet first half (but you could’ve said that for just about all of Team White) but played well in the 2nd half. Very pesky on the puck and demonstrated he has a good shot too on a laser from the high slot. He had a pretty neat little shootout goal too.
Carson Soucy (White) – 5th camp apparently, but he demonstrated good mobility. Jumped up into the play and beat the goaltender on shot off the rush. I thought he was the best defenseman out there.
Jacob Golden (Green) – The mystery kid who played for London gave me an idea of what the Wild saw in him. He has lots of skill and is a very smooth skater. He seems to jump into the rush well although I’m still not sure how good he is defensively which is a bit troubling since he’s a defenseman.
Avery Peterson (Green) – Quietly effective, set up two goals. Still wish he was quicker and got up to top speed faster but he looked calm and collected out there as a development camp veteran.
Ivan Lodnia (Green) – beyond him chasing down a kid on a penalty shot I didn’t notice him that much. I was hoping he’d be a bigger factor than he was.
Adam Vay (Green) – Had some good reaction saves off the rush, but getting beat by Soucy off the rush was disappointing.
Gerald Mayhew (Green) – at times showed some tremendous wheels and even some good playmaking instincts but I kept wanting more from him. I wanted to see him be more assertive.
Brendan Van Riemsdyk (White) – Tall and moves very well, saw one nice play off the rush but that’s the one time I really noticed him out there.
Gustav Bouramman (Green) – I thought he looked terrible. Bad passes, with more than a few foolish high-risk, low reward plays.
Braydyn Chizen (White) – He might move ok for a 6’9″ defenseman, but he really needs to work on his quickness. Opponents could get a step on him routinely. Pylon.
Brady Boudreau (White) – I get it he’s the coach’s kid, but why let him play in a prospect development camp?
Nick Swaney (White) – Skates ok, but seemed to lack skill. Looked out of place for a guy who played a few years of junior hockey.
Oh, and since it relates to Wild prospects I’d like to add an update to the Kirill Kaprizov news that he’s signed a 3-year deal to play for CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League. The deal apparently isn’t official but as Michael Russo and Jim Souhan discussed on their latest podcast the 20-year old is facing tremendous pressure to sign the deal.
I will post another article giving a summary of Thursday’s 5:30PM scrimmage and if you are in town don’t forget there is a block party at Seven Corners Parking Lot afterwards.